Atras Considering Next Starts For Maracuja, Chateau

Rob Atras is in third position in the trainer standings with a record of 69-15-11-11 heading into Sunday’s card – Day 32 of the 48-day Belmont Park spring / summer meet. Belmont Park is located in Elmont, N.Y.

While four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown leads the way with 26 wins, Atras is just three wins back of second-place trainer Christophe Clement [18 wins from 81 starts] and three victories ahead of Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher [12 wins from 74 starts].

“Like everyone, we’ve had good runs and bad runs but it’s great to be in the same category as those guys for number of wins at this particular meet,” said Atras. “We’ve tried to focus on quality over quantity, but both have risen. We didn’t have this many horses last year and now we’re up to 50 with more coming in.”

The 36-year-old conditioner saddled Dennis Narlinger’s Sadie Lady to a front-running score in Saturday’s $100,000 Dancin Renee Stakes, a six-furlong main track sprint for older New York-bred fillies and mares.

The 5-year-old daughter of Freud, bred in the Empire State by JMJ Racing Stables, demonstrated a nose for the wire last season winning 4-of-7 starts. The speedy mare won the six-furlong Correction by a head in March at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y. and followed with a strong second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Stakes on May 8 at Belmont Park.

Atras said Sadie Lady, who matched a career-best 85 Beyer for her Dancin Renee score, came out of the race in good order.

“She’s great this morning. I’m very happy with her performance,” said Atras. “She had strong early speed and that’s her weapon. It unfolded for her very well yesterday.

“She’s continued to stay in form,” Atras added. “Last year, she didn’t come to Belmont 100 percent and had little nagging issues, nothing serious, so we just gave her some time off.”

Atras has yet to consider the next start for Sadie Lady, but stakes options on the NYRA calendar include the $200,000 Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on July 24 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and the Union Avenue Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for state-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on August 19.

Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja covered a half-mile in 49.75 seconds in company with Olliemyboy, an allowance-winning 4-year-old Ontario-bred colt, on Sunday on the Belmont main track. The breeze followed a sharp half-mile in :48.46 last Sunday on Big Sandy.

“She breezed a nice half and galloped out five-eighths. It was similar to last week but not quite as fast,” said Atras. “It was a strong, progressive half in company with Olliemyboy. They matched strides throughout.”

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Code graduated at third asking in a maiden allowance sprint on February 21 at the Big A before closing to finish second to Search Results in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Gazelle in April at the same track.

Maracuja exited that effort to finish a rallying seventh after a poor start from an inside draw in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, K.Y.

“It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but considering the poor break and getting shuffled back, she passed quite a few horses late and was really rolling. With a better break, she might have been fourth or fifth,” said Atras.

Atras said Maracuja will target the $250,000 Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for sophomore fillies, on June 26 at Belmont. It would mark the first start for the improving filly over Big Sandy.

“That’s what we’re trying to pointing towards,” said Atras. “Her last few works have been over the main track. We’re trying to get her used to it and I think she’ll like the big, sweeping turns.

“If she can have a little better start, she can probably sit a little closer if she needs to,” Atras added. “I think the one turn will be good for her, too. She’s fine around two turns but in the Oaks there’s not a lot of run to get to the first turn and getting out of the gate good there and getting position is key.”

Atras will have to find a new jockey for Maracuja with her regular rider, Kendrick Carmouche, out for up to 10 weeks with a broken ankle.

“We’ve been together for a lot of victories and it definitely hurt when he went down,” said Atras. “Kendrick was having a good year and hit a lot of milestones recently winning his first Grade 1 [aboard True Timber in the Cigar Mile]. Hopefully, he’ll be back soon.”

Michael Dubb’s Chateau breezed early Sunday with an eye towards a start at the Saratoga summer meet.

“The stakes there tend to get pretty salty. I’m not sure which way we’re going to go just yet,” said Atras. “Six is a real good distance for him, but we’ll see. I’ll talk to Mike this week and make a plan for him.”

The 6-year-old Flat Out gelding, who boasts a record of 35-7-10-8 with purse earnings of $525,769, has made his last three starts in graded company, led by a score in the six-furlong Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap in March at Aqueduct.

The dark bay faded to fourth in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April at Aqueduct, but stayed on for second last out after setting the pace in the six-furlong Grade 3 Runhappy Stakes won by Firenze Fire on May 8 at Belmont.

The Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, is slated for July 31 at the Spa.

Sanford J. Goldfarb, Irwin Goldfarb, and the Estate of Ira Davis’ American Power finished an even third last out in the Grade 2 True North Stakes that saw graded stakes-winning millionaires Firenze Fire and Flagstaff run one-two on June 4 at Belmont.

“Considering who he ran against, I think it was a good effort by him,” said Atras. “Those two got out front and the track was kind of playing that way and they did what they needed to do.”

The 6-year-old son of Power Broker made the grade in the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes in January at the Big A and followed with a score in the Caixa Eletronica Stakes at the same distance and track in March.

Atras said American Power has come out of the True North in good order, but has no specific target.

“I gave him a little two-minute lick this morning and he did good,” said Atras. “He’s come out of the race well. He’s another horse, like Chateau, that’s tough to spot. Six and a half furlongs is not quite his best distance. He doesn’t have that sprint speed to be up there, so seven-to-a-mile is what we’ll look for going forward.”

Musical Heart, owned by Dubb and Michael J. Caruso, faltered to ninth last out in the 12-furlong Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes presented by Northwell Health on Belmont Stakes Day.

The 6-year-old Maclean’s Music gelding, claimed for $62,500 in November, captured the 11-furlong Flat Out on April 30 at Belmont.

“It was maybe a little too soon back off the race before and maybe a bit too far,” said Atras of the Brooklyn effort. “I don’t think he wants to go that far, but you just don’t know until you try it. We’re thinking about Saratoga with him, too. We don’t have a race in mind but probably at a mile and an eighth.”

Robert Bone’s Nice Ace worked five-eighths in 1:01.90 on the main track Sunday. The sophomore son of Noble Mission, bred in Pennsylvania by Blackstone Farm, graduated at second asking for former conditioner Tim Girten over the Presque Isle Downs synthetic in September ahead of a runner-up effort in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Juvenile Stakes in October at the same track.

Nice Ace, who finished off the board in his last two starts, is nominated to make his 3-year-old debut in the $125,000 Woodstock Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for sophomores on the Woodbine Tapeta slated for June 20.

“He worked well this morning. I’m not sure which direction we’ll go with him just yet,” said Atras. “We have him nominated to the Woodstock and we have tentative plans to go up there, but we’re not 100 percent committed yet. I’ll have to speak to the owner and see what we want to do with him.”

Atras said Nice Ace will likely get a chance to try turf this season.

“He is quite fast. They tried a few different things with him last year and he was most effective on the synthetic,” said Atras. “We wanted to try the turf here; there was an allowance race that didn’t fill. He also might stretch out a little bit. He’s a tall horse with a nice stride on him but we wanted to start him out sprinting.”

The post Atras Considering Next Starts For Maracuja, Chateau appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.